ERIC Number: ED255963
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr-4
"Billy" from "On Golden Pond": The Precocious Youth in Contemporary Popular Drama.
Pearl, Michael A.
The character of Billy in Ernest Thompson's "On Golden Pond" does not behave like "real" young people. Instead, he takes on adult qualities, as shown in his relationships with the other characters, in his speech, in his actions, and in the observations he makes during the play. Billy's adolescent behavior serves the dramatic purposes of providing humor, advancing the plot, and fulfilling romantic ideals about the relationships between youth and old age. His character is structured equally to Ethel and Norman, but Thompson does not allow dramatic time for Billy to develop. Instead he relies on the classic comic conventions and romantic ideals to carry the character. Billy's strong personality at his entrance and his later delivery of key exposition describing his relationship with Norman result in a character who appears too "theatrical" to be credible. The problems of the juvenile role arise when the playwright depends on the character for more than he has allowed the character development to accomplish credibly, as in the case of Billy. Another problem arises when the playwright is seeking some other effect, particularly humor or pathos, and falls victim to the relative ease of creating precocious youths. In contrast, such precocious juveniles would not be tolerated in society. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A